“Time to batten down the hatches”

Tuesday November 28th 2023

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Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

Time to batten down the hatches I think as the dark nights close in and the weather turns. Let’s hope for a milder winter as so many face the threat of horrendous heating and food bills.

While the UK Chancellor pretends that he is helping by easing, a little, National Insurance contributions, that won’t happen till January. The reality is that it is only a small portion of the money we have already paid him being returned and that disappears into thin air when you look at inflation. What he has done is at the expense of funding for services such as health, education, justice and council budgets in England and because of something called “consequentials” that affects all those public services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You see cuts to funding for these services in England means a proportionate cut to the services of the devolved nations. It is the price of devolution.

Thank goodness then for the coming of fairy lights and Christmas trees to brighten up our days and our windows. It is at least something. I go to the Leadburn Community Woodland for mine. They are cut fresh and at a very reasonable price. I think I’ll plump for a smaller one this year as it took a bit of effort to set mine up last time. Besides the family is scattered to the winds with one son and family in London and the other with family in Canada so it’s just me and the cat. But I will put one up to cheer up those gloomy afternoons and I hope cheer up passers-by. As a child I used to count them as I went along. Do children still do that? Yes, there’s a lot to be said for fairy lights in these not so cheery times.

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